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View Full Version : GOP Sen. Ted Stevens now a convicted felon


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Eric
10-27-2008, 06:52 PM
Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens was convicted of seven corruption charges Monday in a trial that threatened to end the 40-year career of Alaska's political patriarch in disgrace. The verdict, coming barely a week before Election Day, increased Stevens' difficulty in winning what already was a difficult race against Democratic challenger Mark Begich. Democrats hope to seize the once reliably Republican seat as part of their bid for a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

Stevens, 84, was convicted of all the felony charges he faced of lying about free home renovations and other gifts from a wealthy oil contractor. Jurors began deliberating last week.

Visibly shaken after the verdicts were read _ the jury foreman declaring "guilty" seven times _ Stevens tried to intertwine his fingers but quickly put his hands down to his side after noticing they were trembling. As he left the courtroom, Stevens got a quick kiss on the cheek from his wife, Catherine, who testified on his behalf during the trial. He declined to talk to reporters waiting outside.

Stevens faces up to five years in prison on each count when he is sentenced, but under federal guidelines he is likely to receive much less prison time, if any. The judge originally scheduled sentencing for Jan. 26 but then changed his mind and did not immediately set a date.

The monthlong trial revealed that employees for VECO Corp., an oil services company, transformed Stevens' modest mountain cabin into a modern, two-story home with wraparound porches, a sauna and a wine cellar.

The Senate's longest-serving Republican, Stevens said he had no idea he was getting freebies. He said he paid $160,000 for the project and believed that covered everything.

He had asked for an unusually speedy trial, hoping he'd be exonerated in time to return to Alaska and win re-election. He kept his campaign going and gave no indication that he had a contingency plan in case of conviction.

Despite being a convicted felon, he is not required to drop out of the race or resign from the Senate. If he wins re-election, he can continue to hold his seat because there is no rule barring felons from serving in Congress. The Senate could vote to expel him on a two-thirds vote.